nine05

life in balance


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Weaving: The last pre-baby warp

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And so here we are, a new year come and all settled into our new house in anticipation of the baby’s arrival, and I still haven’t managed to say goodbye to this last warp woven in our old apartment! This warp had two different colors in the weft – dark brown for the most part with a lighter brown at the end. I always enjoy weaving the two-color batches; it’s such fun to see how the different wefts change the colors in the warp. Unfortunately I have no photos of the finished yardage this time; I shipped it out days before we moved and had no physical or mental space to capture the finished batch with photography before sending it up to Boston. Although I had planned to weave one last warp after we moved into our house, I found that I can’t physically put in so many hours at the loom in the third trimester. So this is the last warp I’ll weave for Clementine before the baby comes (though I haven’t totally given up on knocking out a couple of personal projects while I’m on leave from my Clementine work).

I’ll miss the light in my weaving studio in our old apartment; the studio space in the new house is palatial compared to what I’m used to, but the lighting is definitely not as good. The wonderful news is that I now have room to bring in a second loom, which would allow me to work on personal projects in addition to my Clementine warps. We’ll see what the new year and the new baby bring! But for now, a farewell to the old space on the eleventh floor of a high rise that served me so well in 2014.

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Weaving: A wrap for my son

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This next batch of yardage is a really special one for me. A couple of months ago, Sarah, the owner of Clementine, offered to dye a special warp for me and to let me keep one of the finished baby wraps from the yardage to use for my son. I was completely bowled over by her generosity; I’ve loved weaving these wraps while pregnant and was just over the moon at not only getting to keep one but also to choose my own colors. That night we sat down together and went through the previous warps for color inspiration and in short order sent our color choices back to Sarah. And this month the warp came up in my weaving rotation and I got to see it realized.

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I fell into weaving this time like I never have before. I was absorbed to the point of dropping all other responsibilities and found that nothing short of physical pain or baby kicks could get me off my loom bench. Fortunately the baby started kicking really enthusiastically this month, so there were a lot of baby kicks happening; he never hesitated to give me some good warning thumps when we needed to get up and move around. Such a helpful alarm clock I’m growing.

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I found my center in this warp – a calm place of bonding with my child. I’m so grateful to Sarah for this gift. To me it’s more than just a baby carrier; it’s a time capsule, the work of my pregnancy running alongside every pass of the shuttle. I can’t wait to hold the finished object in my arms. For now, here are a few more photos than usual in honor of this special gift. There are a few more wraps in this batch and as usual, they’ll be up on Clementine’s Facebook page when they’re ready for sale.

I also thought it would be fun this time to share a photo of the warp coming off my loom – not a beautifully composed shot at all, more like a real talk image of how big these warps are, especially in my tiny workspace. Below is one final photograph of the warp, in all its “giant pile o fabric” glory.

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Weaving: Pastels

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Here I am with another finished warp for Clementine! This warp is my August/September yardage; it took a little longer than normal to materialize because I traveled to my boxmaking workshop at Penland in the middle of my weaving process. I thought I would find it stressful to return home and have a big project still waiting for me, but it turned out to be really good to have the warp to re-center me and get me oriented again to my maker lifestyle. While I was working on this batch of yardage I was experiencing some pregnancy issues; thankfully they’ve begun to resolve, but at the time I was feeling anxious, And so I needed a nice pastel warp to soothe me, and this one was such a treat. I loved the mint green weft, especially against the pink sections. The pastel warps can be harder to photograph, but in some ways I think they’re my favorite to weave; the colors create a really soothing, meditative atmosphere that I really enjoy.

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Thanks to my procrastination in posting, this warp has long since come, been and gone to the Clementine Facebook page, but the next warp on deck is quite a special one and I should be posting about it soon.


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Saying goodbye to a mentor and an inspiration

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As I finish this latest warp for Clementine, we’ve moved into the second trimester, otherwise known as “the time when most people believe it’s wise to announce that you are pregnant”. And so I did, and in return I got back some truly awful news; my beloved weaving teacher, mentor and dear friend of eleven years died recently due to an undiagnosed cancer. She passed away suddenly just days before I reached out to share my news.

Normally I really prefer this space to be upbeat, but if you all will indulge me, I’d like one howl out into the void here. Cancer is so terribly hungry; it takes from us so unfairly and it takes so very much. Deb taught me about a lot more than what it meant to weave with dedication and care to my craft – though I will always attribute my attention to my selvedges to her eagle eye in the studio. Nothing stuck out to her quite like a bad selvedge. Some of the things she taught me about how to live in this world are so central to my well-being that there’s simply no way to describe them. She was thrilled for me when I met my husband and thrilled for us when we married. Having known me at a time when I really struggled with what it meant to be a good partner and a good mother, I know she would have felt such joy for me as we welcome our first child. The notion of entering my thirties next week without her in the world is difficult to wrap my mind around.

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And thus, this week, I give you: some beautiful photos of this wonderful yardage, and a lot of respect for the woman who got me my loom and enabled me to do the work I do today that makes me so very happy. I know deep down that she would have wanted me to go forward with joy, and so I’m going to try. And I’ll always mind my selvedges. Truth.


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Weaving and an announcement

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Another baby wrap batch woven and off to Clementine HQ for finishing. There’s something special about this one that I want to share with you all, though. It’s the first batch I wove while pregnant.

Yep – I’m pregnant – ten weeks along with our first child. I know, conventional wisdom has it that I should be keeping this to myself for the full first trimester, but we saw the heartbeat yesterday and got the thumbs up on baby’s health, and it feels artificial to talk about this warp without mentioning the pregnancy. It was absolutely wild to weave with baby along for the ride. The first trimester has been really taxing for me, as I hear it is for many women, and I haven’t been able to do much except watch my belly expand, but for some reason, the baby loved weaving with me. I felt this happy hum all the way through me as we were working; it almost felt as though we were collaborating together on the yardage, which makes me even more excited than usual to see this one going out into the world.

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Thankfully my mojo is starting to come back and I’ve had a lot more creative energy in the past week, but seeing this warp move on to other families is making me especially happy this month. The finished wraps are actually up for random draw today over at Clementine’s Facebook page, so hurry on over to enter if you’re interested in this one.


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Weaving: Soft rainbows for Clementine

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This morning I woke up early to weave the last meter on this, my latest yardage for Clementine Baby Wraps. I cut it off while groggy and in sore need of my morning coffee, and its beautiful soft palette was exactly what I needed to really enter the day properly. Measuring and packing these warps for shipping is quite a challenge; if you saw the photo I posted on Instagram, you might have perceived that these warps come off the loom in a big heap o’ fabric. It’s not really apparent from the photos I share here, but my studio space is quite tiny. I can only walk around half of my loom and there is a wall six inches from the back of my weaving bench, so getting the fabric off the loom and out of the studio usually overwhelms me. But with this warp it was a really soothing process.

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The funny thing is that it reads as a spring colorway to me, this warp – and I love it even though I’ve been very challenged by springtime this year. I think I may be the only person in the United States who didn’t want this winter to end. Oh, I know, we’ve had a bad winter, but we’ve had the bad winter I’ve been praying for and I was so grateful for it. DC doesn’t get a lot of wintry weather, which always grieves me. I was born for the heart of winter, always, but this year I had the additional blessing of being truly myself for the first time in close to a decade. The changes I’ve made to my life over the past year have all combined to form a day-to-day routine that’s so true to my core self that it makes me weak in the knees with gratitude. And then the snows came, and I was just full to the brim with joy, feeling that centrifugal force of new work welling up in my heart. That pivotal moment before new life begins; that’s what winter is about for me. The snow covers everything and gives us space to heal and regenerate, and I wasn’t quite ready to give it up.

I thought I had missed the last snow of the season while he and I were out in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago and I was the tiniest bit gutted about it. And then right after we got home, we got a little dusting of snowfall, and it was magical. I love to travel but I had been on four trips in five weeks, which put my head in a blender and brought all my projects to a standstill. Seeing that snow falling as I darted into the DC public library to grab some Yvette Van Bowen cookbooks, I felt as if I was watching a conductor raise a baton. You’re home now; you’re coming home now; begin again. I worked on this warp through that last snowfall and I feel like the sensation of that gentle, new beginning is embodied in the fabric, and this morning as I was folding it and photographing it, it soothed my heart. I hope it does the same for you all! Sometimes I get to see some photos of babies wrapped up in the wraps that are made from my woven fabric, which is always wonderful, and I’m really hoping to see some little ones all safe and cozy in this warp – more than any I’ve woven so far I feel like this one has got some amazing new life energy going on. As always, details will be posted over on the Clementine facebook page when it goes up for sale, so check in there if you’re interested.

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Weaving

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I just finished weaving my first full batch of yardage for Clementine Baby Wraps yesterday. At just under 23 meters, it was interesting to lay out and measure the fabric for invoicing in my small apartment! Since my loom is so large, we don’t even have a dining room table, so I was stuck measuring on my mattress. I thought I’d share a couple of shots and talk about the warp a little today as I send it off into the world.

I spoke last time about intentional practice; one of the results of an intentional craftsmanship process is that I’m really focusing on my working emotions and choosing what qualities I’m imbuing the final product with. When I’m relaxed, it tends to be a very gentle, calm energy, and it all flows without much extra focus on my part. In this case, since this was my first 20+ meter batch I was – let’s go with “not relaxed” – maybe “determined to do a good job” is the right way to put it. I focused on that feeling while I worked and kept my attention on working with positive, determined, strong energy. As I worked I kept thinking that the babies who grow up in this fabric are going to be such little lionhearts! Strong, brave and true are the qualities I’m associating with the finished fabric.

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Once Clementine’s owner Sarah has had a chance to process the fabric and turn it into baby wraps, she usually posts a lottery to buy the wraps on Clementine’s Facebook page, so keep an eye out over there if you’re interested in a wrap from this batch.